THE JUDGE'S CORNER:
The Foster Youth Success Initiative
By Judge Margaret Pickard and Laura Obrist, MSW
School can be difficult to navigate for any child, especially in the middle and high school years. Typical school challenges are compounded for youth who have been involved in the foster care system, who generally come into the child welfare system after facing years of housing instability, food insecurity, violence in the home, or absent/inconsistent caregivers. The National Foster Youth Institute reports that 40% of youth in foster care face educational difficulties and the Nevada Department of Education reports that only 50% of youth in foster care graduated from high school in 2020. Nationwide, only 2-10.8% of youth who have been in foster care graduate from a 4-year college.
In response to this crisis, the Nevada Board of Regents began the Foster Youth Success Initiative in 2018. The primary mission of the Foster Youth Success Initiative is to recruit, support, and retain youth who have been in the foster care system to enter and graduate from one of the seven Nevada System of Higher Education (‘NSHE’) colleges and universities. CASA volunteers can be instrumental in discussing college opportunities with high school youth and connecting eligible youth in high school to the NSHE Foster Youth Success Initiative contacts, who can assist youth in learning more about financial aid for college.